In a fascinating — if a bit claustrophobia-inducing — recent profile of Glenn Grassi, a Colorado-based theater set designer who hand-built a teensy-tiny (84 square feet!) microhome on wheels complete with composting toilet and wood-burning stove, The New York Times wondered how tiny the tiny house movement can actually go.


For Lulu, a tiny house dweller and single mom in California, that magic number — a number that often straddles the line between pared-down, comfortable living and straight-out claustrophobia — just happens to be 288 square feet.


Recently featured by the gang over at faircompanies, Lulu’s downsized 8x20 shipping container home (her cozy, stargazing-ready sleeping quarters are located in an adjacent shed built atop a trailer) may not be for everyone, but for Lulu, it’s a tiny slice of paradise. And it's certainly a mansion compared to Grassi's home. Even then, Lulu, who transformed the shipping container into a home by hand for $4,000 with no previous experience and using only recycled/salvaged building materials, admits that "I think I'm a little claustrophobic, so the storage container was a little daunting, but I got the container for free."


Lulu, who built her home on rented land surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, thinks of her downsized, nontraditional living arrangement this way:
I mean this was really a choice about, you know, how many hours do we have to our life and how do I want to spend those hours and really about do I want to go and work more than 10, 20, 30 hours a week so that I can pay rent to have a big house so that I can be a healthy normal mom. So this was my choice and she's [Lulu’s daughter] definitely complained at times, but I also know that we have spent way more hours than I would have if I had to pay rent.
Great stuff. And in case you wondering, Lulu has one daughter (the other kids in the video are babysitting charges) who, since the filming of the video, moved into her own bedroom independent of her mom's bedroom/shed. Hear more from Lulu, who has some honest and fascinating insights on mortgage-free living with minimal clutter, in the video above.
Video screenshot: faircompanies

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Watch: A cozy California cargo home
Meet Lulu, a single mom who, in eschewing the notion that happiness comes from oversized, possession-filled homes, has chosen to live in a converted shipping co